Policy Position on Alternative Punishments

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You are in charge of programming for your state’s Department of Corrections. With the prison population continuing to rise and consistently high recidivism rates, the governor has instructed you to look outside the United States for alternatives. You and your team will look at several countries and compare their incarceration and recidivism data with those of the United States. The goal is to determine whether there are punishment alternatives or in-prison programs that could help reduce recidivism.

Choose one of the following countries and report on its data: Brazil, Japan, Norway, Egypt, or South Africa.

  • How does the country you chose compare to the United States in terms of incarceration rate? Explain.
  • How does the country you chose compare to the United States in terms of recidivism? Explain.
  • What punishment alternatives exist in the country you chose? Does that country engage in corporal punishment?
  • Does the other country offer any type of restorative justice or other innovation that could be beneficial if adopted in the United States?
  • Describe the role of the “classification officer” in a US prison. Also explain how this officer can influence recidivism.

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